A furniture designer from just outside Lyon, Aymeric has started a Draff a company creating eco-friendly material from the waste products of breweries and distilleries.
Like many podcast guests before him Aymeric followed his partner to Dundee and after a few visits decided to move here himself. He talks about the differences in the educational institutions in France and Scotland. He found DJCAD much more open and collaborative but in France they work on a 2 week rotation system. 2 weeks in the university and then 2 weeks in a company placement. This is standard practice across French education and a system that must surely harbour great links between industry and education. Something that I think we should be making more of an effort to do in Scotland, not necessarily just creating those links but getting students into real-world roles prior to graduation.
After completing a degree in Interior Design at DJCAD Aymeric went on to become a designer in residence at the university. Doing some teaching while developing his own research. This research came to become the company ‘Draff’. He has created links with 71 Brewing and Verdant spirits in Dundee to get a supply of spent grains. He then dries out this mixture and combines it with an eco-friendly resin made of alcohol and water. The resulting mixture is heated and pressed, once it dries the resulting material can be made into furniture. As the ingredients going into each beer or gin are unique each board created will have a unique look specific to the product. Aymeric is currently making a variety of products from coasters to tables from his materials.
He divides his time between developing Draff and working for architecture firm Kennedy Twaddle. They are based at the back of The Circle building at Staffa Place, off the Kingsway.
We chat about the importance of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone which I think is where the most important thing happen. You just need to be mindful of where your limits are and when you need to get other people involved. We then venture into the world of eco-design and the debate of profit vs ethics. It’s a really tricky subject and ultimately we need to make a living and make our businesses profitable but if we can all make better more sustainable choices it could make an enormous difference to the world. Aymeric describes his ‘ethical reflex’ where he now automatically checks ingredients or origins of products in order to make better choices. It’s forcing ourselves into this habit in order to make a difference.